Who doesn’t love a good pie?
I’ve always been put off making pies because (a) I worry about a soggy bottom and (b) I always thought pastry was difficult to master. The soggy bottom thing is probably a fear of Mary Berry jumping out from my kitchen cupboard to examine my pie (impossible I know, not least because there’s no space for her by the time I’ve squeezed every kitchen gadget known to man in there). The difficulty thing I definitely get from my Mam who I always used to think could make great pastry until one day she told me that most of the time she actually used ready made pastry and just pretended she’d made it ! 😉
Anyway, back to the point.
Pies are a great way to use up leftovers and turn them into a whole new meal with very little effort. Most leftovers can be made in to a pie of some sort and I often find that I make extra whenever I do anything in the slow cooker – especially mince and onions or and beef casserole. I store the leftovers in the fridge until the next day when I pour them into my big family pie dish.
And you know what else, you don’t even have to do the whole making the pastry from scratch thing if you don’t want to because I certainly don’t! There’s plenty of other things you could top your pie with instead of traditional shortcrust pastry….
Suet Pastry – One of my personal favourites because it’s delicious and very, very easy. My trusty Bero book tells me to mix together 225g self raising flour, 100g Suet and a pinch of salt with enough cold water to make a pliable dough. Then it’s just a case of rolling it out on a floured surface and using it to top whatever pie I’m making. It goes best with slow cooker mince beef and onions in my opinion.
Cheat and use shop bought – Take a leaf out of my Mam’s book and fake it. In this chicken and ham pie I use a packet puff pastry mix from Asda which costs less than 50p and takes minutes to make as you just add water and roll out. Sometimes, saving time is worth paying a little more for convenience!
Crispy sliced potatoes – I like to very thinly slice my potatoes and then pop them in a bowl with some olive oil and give them a good mix together. Then I layer them over the top of the pie and cook in a hot oven until they’re cooked and just a little crispy and the pie filling is cooked through.
Mashed potato – Another family favourite option is to spoon mashed potato on to our pie and bake in the over until it’s golden. Some grated cheese sprinkled on top before you pop it in the oven is also delicious with the mashed potato topping.
What’s your favourite pie filling?